An increase in the number of reported cases of unauthorized bank card purchases lead Bossier officials to believe skimmers could be to blame.
The Bossier Sheriff-Police Financial Crimes Task Force has received about 20 such cases over the past several weeks. In each case the victims have possession of their bank cards leading detectives to believe the information on those cards was obtained through the use of skimmers.
Bank card skimmers are small, nearly undetectable devices that capture sensitive data from a bank card’s magnetic strip. Criminals insert skimmers into credit/debit card processing machines such as those found on gas pumps, ATM’s and on payment processors in self-checkout aisles.
Once information from a bank card is stored on a skimmer, criminals can use the data to make unauthorized purchases unbeknownst to the card holder until the transactions show up on the victim’s bank statement.
To help prevent the public from falling victim to skimmers detectives offer these tips:
- Inspect bank card readers before using them. Be suspicious if they appear loose, crooked or damaged.
- If possible, use an ATM at an inside location (less access for criminals installing skimmers).
- At gas pumps check to make sure the gas pump dispenser cabinet is closed and has not been tampered with. Many stations are now putting a piece of security tape over the cabinet to ensure it has not been opened by unauthorized individuals.
- When entering a PIN, cover your hand as you press the numbers to protect personal information.
- Monitor bank accounts regularly for suspicious transactions.
- Consumers who suspect their credit card number has been compromised should report it immediately to police and their credit card company.